Man serving sentence in killing of Colorado socialite found hanged

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 07, 2015 5:51 PM

(Reuters) - A retired physician serving a 20-year sentence for killing an Aspen, Colorado, socialite has committed suicide by hanging in his prison cell, a coroner said on Friday.

William Styler, 67, hung himself with part of a bedsheet and was discovered in his cell on Thursday morning at the state's Arrowhead Correctional Center in Cañon City, 35 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, said Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller.

An autopsy conducted on Friday morning confirmed Styler died of suicide due to hanging, Keller said.

Styler last year pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Nancy Pfister, the daughter of Art and Betty Pfister who co-founded the Buttermilk ski area in the 1950s. Buttermilk is one of the four mountains that comprise the Aspen/Snowmass ski resort complex.

Pfister was found in February 2014 beaten to death with a hammer in her Aspen-area home in a murder that shocked residents of the chic getaway for the wealthy, including many Hollywood celebrities.

Styler confessed to murdering Pfister in a dispute over rent money, Pitkin County District Attorney Sherry Caloia said last year.

Styler and his wife moved from the Denver area to the mountain community last year, and were renting Pfister's home while she traveled overseas. Pfister returned to Colorado and got into a dispute with the Stylers over money she said the couple owed her, authorities said last year.

His wife, Nancy, and a local banker, Kathy Carpenter, also were charged in the death, but those charges were dropped after Styler confessed that he acted alone, prosecutors said.

Styler was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler)